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Where are we heading with electric vehicles?

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JOURNAL OF AIR QUALITY & CLIMATE CHANGE: This paper concludes that compared to conventional fossil-fuelled vehicle technologies, electric vehicles (EVs) are the best and most robust option with regard to moving to a zero emission road transport system. They enable significant to very deep (98%) reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, where large reductions depend on the extent of renewable energy generation. Fuel cell vehicles appear not to have the same benefits as battery electric vehicles. They perform only slightly better than conventional fossil-fuelled vehicles in terms of well-to-wheel energy use per km. In contrast, EVs use approximately a factor of 3-5 times less energy. In fact, fuel cell vehicles are expected to produce a large increase in greenhouse gas emission of about a factor of two, based on the emissions intensity of the existing electricity grid. Fuel cell vehicles have the potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the long term, but only on the strict condition of a significant increase in renewable energy. EVs and fuel cell vehicles are both expected to significantly improve local air quality, particularly in urban areas where population and associated transport needs are concentrated. However, the extent to which renewable energy is used, is again an important factor in relation to level of improvement that will be achieved. The economic case for EVs is strong. The (hidden) economic costs of air pollution and associated public health impacts caused by fossil-fuelled vehicles will be substantially reduced. ‘Total cost’ parity (purchase plus operating) with conventional vehicles is expected to occur in the early to mid 2020s. In contrast to other regions in the world, Australia has a relatively sluggish track record in EV promotion and uptake, mainly due to a lack of supportive policies. New Zealand and some jurisdictions in Australia have taken a significantly more active stance regarding EVs. It is prudent that Australia does the same nationally, given the current transformation towards connected and autonomous vehicles (AVs) where electric vehicles are considered to be the ‘natural partner’ of AVs. EVs can support the transition to a more renewable energy system, functioning as relatively cheap energy storage devices. So where are we heading with electric vehicles? Although there are significant differences between countries and regions in the world, the available data suggest we are Where Are We Heading With Electric Vehicles? Robin Smit, Jake Whitehead and Simon Washington definitely heading away from fossil-fuelled road transport towards a fully transformed road transport system where electric vehicles will dominate, or at least play a key role. Electric vehicles are the obvious choice when considering environmental and economic benefits. Other fundamental shifts such as autonomous vehicles and renewable energy are mutually reinforcing developments. Co-development with a clean and climate-friendly electricity generation system will enable deep cuts in greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions.
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18 Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
INTRODUCTION
Motorised road transport was borne as
an electric vehicle (EV), built in the United
States in 1834 by Thomas Davenport. It was
over fifty years later that Benz and Daimler
developed the first road vehicle with a fossil-
fuelled internal combustion engine (ICEV) in
Germany. Around 1900, electric vehicles had
a significant share of all engine-driven cars.
For instance, EVs became the top-selling road
vehicles in the US in 1900, capturing 28% of
the market. EVs and ICEVs were competing
with each other until Henry Ford, in 1908,
chose an ICEV for the first mass production
car in history. As a consequence, ICEVs
replaced EVs, which became all but extinct by
1935.
From air quality and climate change
perspectives, whilst complicated by
energy sourcing issues, cradle-to-grave
considerations, sole source versus mobile
source emissions management, and end
of life environmental impacts, the market
penetration of ICEVs has been a challenging,
if not regrettable development. The need
to rapidly decarbonise the transport system
and achieve international emission reduction
targets will require deep cuts in greenhouse
gas emissions from the transport sector.
With an increasing focus on the public
health impacts of transport emissions, there
is also a strong push to reduce the volume
of pollutants generated by motor vehicles.
For some time now, EVs have been heralded
as the obvious mechanism to achieve both
of these outcomes (e.g. Arar, 2010; IEA,
2013), notwithstanding the above mentioned
complexities.
Despite EVs being a promising pathway
forward, surveys suggest that there may be a
high level of ignorance and/or misconceptions
in the community regarding this vehicle
technology (IEA, 2018). This may in fact be
one of the principal barriers towards a rapid
transition to a clean and low-carbon transport
system. Education, with the aim of presenting
accurate (unbiased) and factual information,
is therefore paramount. In the light of this,
this paper aims to provide an overview of
the current state of play on EVs in a global
context, and will make comments regarding
the situation in Australia and New Zealand.
BACKGROUND
When discussing the relevance of electric
vehicles regarding current and future road
transport, it is useful to define the different
types of drivetrain options on offer today,
and potentially in the near future. Firstly,
there are internal combustion engine vehicles
(ICEVs); being the vast majority of vehicles
driven today. These vehicles can be powered
using various liquid or gaseous fossil fuels
(petrol, diesel, LPG, CNG) and/or biofuels
(bioethanol, biodiesel, etc.), and involve
igniting the fuel to drive pistons and/or rotors
to turn a driveshaft, and in turn, propel the
vehicle forward. Through this process, most
of the energy stored in the fuel is lost, as
will be discussed later, which is why ICEVs
are relatively energy inefficient, and produce
significant amounts of greenhouse gases and
air pollutant exhaust emissions.
In an effort to find alternatives to fossil
fuels to improve fuel security and reduce
carbon emissions, various efforts have been
undertaken to run ICEVs utilising biofuels.
Biofuels vary significantly in composition,
cost and emissions profile. They have
the potential to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, but still emit on-road air pollutant
emissions. Importantly, many biofuels impact
feedstock commodities currently used for
food production; an issue that needs to be
carefully managed.
More recently, electric vehicles have
again emerged as a viable alternative to
ICEVs, in particular due to the significant
advances in battery energy density. In this
paper, a distinction is made between the two
main types of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs):
battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in
hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
BEVs are powered solely by an electric
motor, which uses electricity stored in a
battery and is plugged-in to charge. There
are no greenhouse gas or air pollutant
exhaust emissions.
ABSTRACT
This paper concludes that compared
to conventional fossil-fuelled vehicle
technologies, electric vehicles (EVs) are the
best and most robust option with regard to
moving to a zero emission road transport
system. They enable significant to very
deep (98%) reductions in greenhouse gas
emissions, where large reductions depend
on the extent renewable energy generation.
Fuel cell vehicles appear not to have the same
benefits as battery electric vehicles. They
perform only slightly better than conventional
fossil-fuelled vehicles in terms of well-to-
wheel energy use per km. In contrast, EVs
use approximately a factor of 3-5 times less
energy. In fact, fuel cell vehicles are expected
to produce a large increase in greenhouse
gas emission of about a factor of two, based
on the emissions intensity of the existing
electricity grid. Fuel cell vehicles have the
potential to substantially reduce greenhouse
gas emissions in the long term, but only on
the strict condition of a significant increase in
renewable energy.
EVs and fuel cell vehicles are both
expected to significantly improve local air
quality, particularly in urban areas where
population and associated transport needs
are concentrated. However, the extent to
which renewable energy is used, is again
an important factor in relation to level of
improvement that will be achieved. The
economic case for EVs is strong. The (hidden)
economic costs of air pollution and associated
public health impacts caused by fossil-fuelled
vehicles will be substantially reduced. ‘Total
cost’ parity (purchase plus operating) with
conventional vehicles is expected to occur in
the early to mid 2020s.
In contrast to other regions in the world,
Australia has a relatively sluggish track record
in EV promotion and uptake, mainly due to
a lack of supportive policies. New Zealand
and some jurisdictions in Australia have taken
a significantly more active stance regarding
EVs. It is prudent that Australia does the same
nationally, given the current transformation
towards connected and autonomous vehicles
(AVs) where electric vehicles are considered
to be the ‘natural partner’ of AVs. EVs can
support the transition to a more renewable
energy system, functioning as relatively cheap
energy storage devices.
So where are we heading with electric
vehicles? Although there are significant
differences between countries and regions in
the world, the available data suggest we are
Where Are We Heading With Electric Vehicles?
Robin Smit, Jake Whitehead and Simon Washington
definitely heading away from fossil-fuelled
road transport towards a fully transformed
road transport system where electric vehicles
will dominate, or at least play a key role.
Electric vehicles are the obvious choice when
considering environmental and economic
benefits. Other fundamental shifts such as
autonomous vehicles and renewable energy
are mutually reinforcing developments.
Co-development with a clean and climate-
friendly electricity generation system will
enable deep cuts in greenhouse and air
pollution emissions.
Keywords: Electric Vehicles, Energy
Efficiency, Air Quality, Emissions, Hydrogen
Fuel Cell Vehicles, Air pollution, Greenhouse.
Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018 19
In comparison, PHEVs include an internal
combustion engine that predominantly
generates additional electricity to extend
driving range once the on-board battery is
depleted. In some cases, the combustion
engine can also directly propel the vehicle,
but generally only at higher speeds due
to the higher gearing of these engines for
maximum fuel efficiency. Greenhouse gas
and air pollutant emissions are generated
when the combustion engine is used.
PHEVs can also be plugged-in to charge,
and emit no exhaust emissions whilst
running on electricity. This is the principal
difference between PHEVs and standard
hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius,
which for the purposes of this paper we
do not define as an EV.
Finally, fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) use hydrogen,
stored in on-board tanks, in combination with
a fuel cell stack to generate electricity, which
in combination with a small battery, powers
an electric motor. FCVs are not plugged-in to
charge, and are refilled with hydrogen in a
similar manner to existing ICEVs. FCVs emit
no greenhouse gas emissions, however, they
do emit water (vapour).
Further details regarding the relative pros
and cons of EVs, compared to these other
drivetrain technologies, are discussed in the
following sections of this paper.
THE CASE FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES
There are several potential advantages to
encouraging a transition towards EVs, both in
terms of BEVs and PHEVs. Here we describe
these issues in greater detail, and provide
the relative pros and cons of EVs compared
to other vehicle drivetrain technologies, by
taking into consideration:
- Energy and GHG emissions performance
- Air quality and public health impacts
- Costs, and
- Grid impacts.
Energy and GHG Emissions Performance
Road transport currently uses large
amounts of fossil fuels and therefore
makes a significant contribution to global
greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated
that approximately 17% of global fossil fuel
related emissions is caused by road transport
(OECD, 2010). For the environmental
evaluation of vehicle technologies, energy
consumption and emissions are often
divided into well-to-tank (WTT) and tank-
to-wheel (TTW) components. WTT refers to
the stage from the extraction of feedstock
until the delivery of fuel to the vehicle tank,
whereas TTW quantifies the performance
of the drivetrain. The well-to-wheel (WTW)
efficiency combines these two stages, and is
the proper statistic to evaluate and compare
technology options. Typical values and
reported ranges for energy loss are presented
in Table 1 and Figure 1.
Although there is a substantial range
in reported values (see Arar, 2010; Helmers
and Marx, 2012; Xu et al., 2015), the values
in Figure 1 and Table 1 are considered to be
generally representative. These values are
used in this paper to provide a high level
overview and consistent basis to illustrate
total travelled distance. When PHEVs operate
exclusively using electricity, their performance
will closely align with that of BEVs.
An advanced feature of BEVs and PHEVs
that improves their energy efficiency is their
ability to capture (electric motor) and store
(battery) energy through the regenerative
braking system. This modifies substantially the
conventional relationship between emission
rates (g/km) and average speed for ICEVs (i.e.
substantially higher emission rates in both
congested and high-speed conditions), into
one with stable or lower (indirect) emission
rates in low speed and congested conditions.
As a consequence, BEVs and PHEVs use
significantly less energy in urban city driving,
with regular stop-go-stop traffic situations.
Nevertheless, both BEVs and PHEVs have
room for improvement. The energy density
of the best performing lithium-ion (Li-ion)
batteries still sits at less than 0.2 kWh/kg,
which means that EVs need heavy batteries
to achieve an acceptable driving range. For
instance, assuming an energy density of
0.15 kWh/kg and an average real-world
electricity consumption of 0.19 kWh/km, a
30 and 75 kWh battery would have a weight
of about 200 and 500 kg, respectively, and
a corresponding driving range of about 150
and 400 km. PHEVs are also caught in a
trade-off between acceptable electric driving
and discuss the main differences between
different vehicle drivetrain technologies,
in a general sense. It should be recognised
however, that these figures can vary across
specific vehicle models.
Figure 1 illustrates a number of important
points. Firstly, in terms of overall (WTW)
energy loss, the various ICEV options and the
FCV have similar performance, i.e. typically
losing 75-85% of (fuel) energy content in
the process of production, transport and
usage. In other words, for these vehicle
drivetrain technologies only 15-25% of the
‘initially available’ energy contained in the
fuel is actually used to drive the vehicle, and
75-85% of the energy is lost in the form of
heat, leakage, pressurisation, transport and/or
energy required for processing. Despite their
inefficiency ICEVs have been successful due to
the very high energy density of fossil fuels.
In contrast, BEVs may require (slightly)
more energy in the WTT process than ICEVs,
but waste only a small amount of energy
(10-20%[1]) in the drivetrain as compared
with ICEVs. PHEVs also perform better than
ICEVs, but with higher energy losses than
BEVs. It should be noted, however, that PHEV
performance varies strongly with respect to
individual use of these cars. In Figure 1 and
Table 1 it has been assumed that the PHEV
operates in electric mode for 60% of the
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
Vehicle Energy Loss WTW Energy use
Technology WTT TTW WTW Efficiency kWh/km
ICEV petrol 20% 82% 86% 14% 1.36
ICEV diesel 20% 75% 80% 20% 0.95
ICE LPG 10% 82% 84% 16% 1.19
ICE CNG 25% 75% 81% 19% 1.00
PHEV 25% 40% 55% 45% 0.42
FCV 60% 45% 78% 22% 0.87
BEV 21% 15% 33% 67% 0.28
Table 1 - Representative WTT, TTW and WTW (combined) energy losses from different vehicle
drivetrain technologies and associated normalised on-road energy use and energy efficiency
Figure 1 - WTT, TTW and WTW (combined) energy losses from different vehicle drivetrain
technologies showing typical values in the bar plot, with reported ranges.
20 Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018
range, and a battery weight penalty beyond
the efficiency gains of the hybrid-electric
drivetrain. Vehicle mass is one of the main
factors determining vehicle energy use (e.g.
Smit, 2014a), and is the dominating factor
regarding energy use in urban city driving.
As a result, improvements in battery energy
density, and in turn battery weight, will result
in substantial further improvement of both
BEV and PHEV energy efficiency. It is worth
noting that the smaller the EV, the more
energy-efficient it is. This is also the case for
ICE vehicles, however, it is more pronounced
with EVs due to the higher battery weight.
Energy loss by vehicle class presented in
Table 1 can be used to compute normalised
energy use expressed per kilometre of travel
for the different ICEV technology classes on
the road today. Average energy required to
propel a car one kilometre along the road is
computed, using the following equation:
e = η (c Σ (fi θi) ) ⁄ (T)
e = real-world energy use for on-road car
fleet (kWh/km)
c = conversion factor from MJ to kWh
(0.278)
fi = total real-world fuel consumption for
vehicle technology class i (kg/annum)
θi = lower heating value for (fossil) fuel used
by vehicle technology class i (MJ/kg)
T = total real-world travel for on-road car
fleet (vehicle km/annum)
η = weighted energy efficiency of on-road
car fleet (19%)
Australian fuel, emissions and travel data
have been used for this purpose (Smit,
2014b; ABS, 2011). The Australian passenger
car fleet consumed a total of approximately
13.6 million tonnes of fossil fuels in 2010.
After consideration of the breakdown by
fuel type (petrol, diesel, LPG, E10) and using
corresponding lower heating values, this total
fuel use corresponds to 600 PJ of energy per
year. Eighty-two percent of this energy is used
for petrol, ten percent is used for diesel cars
and eight percent is used by LPG cars, which
gives a weighted average (TTW) efficiency of
about 19% for ICEVs. Total annual travel was
163.4 billion kilometres, which means that,
on average, 1.0 kWh of fossil fuel energy
was used per km of travel for Australian cars.
Multiplying this with the 19% efficiency of
ICEVs (η) gives e: an average required on-road
energy figure of 0.19 kWh/km for Australian
cars.
This value is similar to the 0.18 kWh/km
figure that has been used in the US, reflecting
a slightly lower (petrol) vehicle efficiency of
17%, used by Arar (2010). As the next step,
the required normalised on-road energy (0.19
kWh/km) is used to estimate the total energy
required per kilometre of travel for each
vehicle type by dividing this value by vehicle-
specific WTW efficiency, which is defined as
100% minus WTW energy loss. The results
of this calculation are shown in Table 1 (last
column). It is clear from Table 1 (and Figure
1) that BEVs are the only vehicle type that
represents a technology jump of significance
in terms of energy improvement in mobility.
BEVs use approximately a factor of 3-5 times
less energy as compared with conventional
ICEVs.
per kWh. An Australian system less reliant
on coal, and with a greater proportion of
sustainable energy in the energy mix[6], would
produce about 300 g CO2-e per kWh.
Combining these values with the required
energy (kWh/km) in Table 1 for BEVs and
FCVs provides the following:
Current Australia: BEV 213 CO2-e/km,
FCV 647 CO2-e/km.
More sustainable Australia: BEV 85 CO2-e/
km, FCV 260 CO2-e/km.
Decarbonised Australia: BEV 6 CO2-e/km,
FCV 17 CO2-e/km.
It is noted that PHEVs would have CO2-e
emission rates somewhere between BEVs and
ICEVs depending on the proportion of driving
in electric mode.
When compared with ICEVs, BEVs will
achieve significant GHG emission reductions
of about 40% (‘Current Australia’), to deep
cuts of about 75% (‘More Sustainable
Australia’), to very deep cuts of 98%
(‘Decarbonised Australia’). For FCVs, the
picture is different. When compared with
ICEVs, FCVs will produce a large increase
in GHG emission of about 80% (‘Current
Australia’), which changes sign to a GHG
emission reduction of about 25% (‘More
Sustainable Australia’), to very deep cuts of
95% (‘Decarbonised Australia’). In particular
the impacts of FCVs on total GHG emissions
strongly depends on the sustainability of the
electricity generation system, whereas this is
less so for BEVs. In fact, significant reductions
in greenhouse gas emissions with fuel cell
vehicles appear only possible if Australia
makes a fundamental shift towards almost
an almost 100% renewable energy system,
which is unlikely in the near to medium
future. BEVs are therefore considered the
safer and more robust option with regard
to moving to a zero emission road transport
system. Clearly, BEVs, PHEVs and FCVs
should use electricity from non-fossil fuel and
renewable energy sources to the maximum
extent possible, in order to reduce the carbon
footprint of road transport.
Although WTW energy and CO2-e
estimates are aiming to quantify a complex
and location-specific system, the strong
benefits of BEVs, as compared with ICEVs
and FCVs, are consistently reported in
international research. For instance, Xu et al.
2015 reported that CNG, diesel, conventional
hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell buses all have
similar WTW CO2-e emission rates of about 2
kg/km, but battery-electric buses have about
1 kg/km, half of the other technologies.
If electricity were generated with 100%
sustainable energy, such as solar and wind
power, the WTW CO2-e emission rate for
EVs would drop to essentially zero g/km (see
Wang et al., 2015).
The argument that BEVs have little CO2
benefits because of the carbon-intensive
electricity generation infrastructure in
Australia demonstrates a concerning lack
of foresight. The world’s energy generation
system is increasingly decarbonised and
penetration of renewable energy generation
is rapidly increasing. Australia is expected to
follow this trend, sooner or later. As illustrated
before, in countries where electricity grids
are already significantly decarbonised, such
Given the recent media attention
in Australia, the results for FCVs may at
first seem surprising given they have an
energy use per km that is better when
compared with diesel and LPG ICEVs, but
still significantly higher when compared
with EVs. As such, FCVs do not exhibit the
significant improvement in energy efficiency
that is possible with new technologies.
This is primarily due to the high electricity
consumption of zero-emission hydrogen
generation (using water electrolysis) and
significant energy losses during fuel cell
operation. An FCV requires about three times
the amount of energy per km as compared
with a BEV.
Whilst some reductions are expected
over the coming years, the universal laws of
thermodynamics dictate that a minimum of
39 kWh of electricity is required to split 9
litres of water into 1 kg of hydrogen gas in
a 100% efficient electrolyser[2]. In addition,
clean water must be supplied and/or treated,
requiring more energy (Lampert et al., 2015).
The hydrogen gas must then be compressed
(or liquefied) for use in transport, given its
low energy density at standard atmospheric
pressure, requiring up to another 15-20 kWh
of electricity in total per kilogram of hydrogen
gas, and then be distributed for use. One
kilogram of hydrogen gas is expected to drive
a FCV approximately 100 kilometres (under
US EPA test conditions). This translates to an
input of 80-100 kWh of electricity per 100
km travelled (after accounting for electrolyser
inefficiencies and energy losses), compared to
less than 30 kWh for BEVs (after accounting
for electricity transmission losses).
The reason for using energy units (kWh/
km) in Table 1 instead of greenhouse gas
units[3] (CO2-equivalent/km) is that the
latter measure is highly variable and a
function of the regional fuel mix and/or the
processes used to produce and distribute
the fuels/electricity, e.g. biofuels, solar/wind
energy, hydrogen pathway, coal, etc. This is
particularly the case for hydrogen production
and electricity generation.
As stated earlier, we calculated that at
the fleet level 1.0 kWh of fossil fuel energy
was used per km of travel on average for
Australian cars. This is a real-world TTW
estimate for ICEVs, and it reflects the 75-80%
energy loss shown in Table 1. Using the fuel
type specific energy proportions mentioned
before[4], a weighted average WTW estimate
of 1.36 kWh fossil fuel energy per km of
travel is computed. Using a weighted average
lower heating value of 44.3 MJ/kg (12.3 kWh/
kg), this energy use corresponds to about 110
grams of fossil fuel per km, and an emissions
rate of 350 g CO2 per km[5]. This number is
multiplied with 101.5% to account for other
greenhouse gas emissions such as methane
and nitrous oxide and convert the WTW
estimate to 355 g CO2-e per km.
According to data presented in Woo et
al. (2017), the current Australian (mainly
fossil-fuel based) electricity generation system
produces 748 g CO2-e per kWh. However,
if Australia transitioned to a decarbonised
electricity system, like Norway (only 2% fossil
fuels, 98% renewable energy, mainly hydro
power), it would produce only 19 g CO2-e
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018 21
as Norway and New Zealand, these vehicle
technologies can lead to deep reductions in
energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
It is considered only a matter of time that
the same will happen in Australia. As a result,
the environmental performance of EVs will
inevitably and substantially improve over time,
whereas at best only marginal improvements
can be expected for ICEVs. As a consequence,
only EVs, and to a significantly lesser extent
FCVs, are believed to have the potential to
create, or relevantly move towards, a zero-
emission transport system.
Air Quality and Public Health Impacts
Ambient air pollution is associated with a wide
range of adverse health effects, ranging from
minor respiratory tract irritation to increased
mortality. The close proximity of motor
vehicles to the general population makes this
a particularly relevant source from an exposure
and public health perspective. International
studies have found that motor vehicles are
the largest single contributor to human health
effects (e.g. Caiazzo et al., 2013).
In fact, health effects due to air pollution
are similar or larger in terms of a (premature)
death toll as compared with traffic accidents
(WHO, 2005). It is estimated that motor
vehicle pollution contributes to 40% more
premature deaths than vehicle fatalities in
Australia each year (Schofield et al., 2017).
Several studies show a causal link between
motor vehicle pollution and respiratory
disease and illness, particularly amongst
young children and the elderly (e.g. Bai
et al., 2018). As a consequence, there are
significant economic costs related to these
health effects, and it has been estimated that
these costs to the Australian economy are in
the order of 1 to 4 billion Australian dollars
per year (BTRE, 2005).
The combination of increasingly strict
air quality criteria around the world and the
range of carcinogenic pollutants without
safe thresholds emitted by ICEVs, warrants a
push to minimise motor vehicle air pollutant
emissions and minimise population exposure
to the largest extent feasible.
EVs and FCVs are expected to significantly
improve local air quality, particularly in urban
areas where population and associated
transport needs are concentrated. This is
because BEVs (and PHEVs when using only
electricity) are essentially ‘zero-emission’
vehicles and, compared to ICEVs do not
produce 1) exhaust gas emissions or 2)
evaporative emissions (fuel storage, fuel
lines, leakage, etc.). The only local air
pollutant emissions all vehicles produce are
non-exhaust particulate matter emissions
due to brake wear, tyre wear and road wear
(including resuspended road dust) – noting
that brake wear is lower in EVs due to use of
regenerative braking.
The only major emission from FCVs is
water. FCVs produce no carbon emissions if
the hydrogen is produced using electrolysis,
powered by renewable energy, and
the hydrogen is also transported to the
fuelling site using renewable energy and/
or zero-emission transport. As a result
of the electrolysis process, FCVs displace
approximately 9 litres of water for every 100
ICEV counterparts, even when combined
with subsidies that may be locally available.
It is noted that attractive and new vehicle
financing options, such as ‘battery leasing’ or
a ‘guaranteed residual value’ for the battery/
vehicle at the end of its life, could potentially
overcome this issue in the short-term.
In Table 2, an example comparison
between similar BEV, PHEV, FCV, ICEV-Hybrid
and ICEV models has been included, using
figures from the US market, where all 5 of
these vehicles are currently available. Firstly,
whilst it could be argued that the Toyota
Mirai (FCV) is a larger vehicle compared to
the alternative models presented in Table 2,
in terms of passenger and cargo volumes, it
is equivalent to or less than the alternative
models shown. The Toyota Mirai was also the
closest comparable FCV model available at
the time of this analysis. As shown in Table
2, despite higher upfront costs, both the
ICEV-Hybrid and PHEV models end up being
only marginally higher than the ICEV model
after fuel savings are taken into account.
These figures are also based on the relatively
conservative split of 60% electric and 40%
petrol driving for the PHEV model. For city
commuters, the electric component of driving
could be closer to 80% (when electric driving
range is greater than 40 km), which in turn
would bring the total cost down to almost on
par with the ICEV model’s total cost.
Comparing the BEV model to the ICEV
model, the upfront cost is about 45% higher.
After taking into account the significant
fuel and maintenance savings achieved by
switching to electric, this difference is reduced
to 13%. Currently this price differential
presents a challenge, and it is being
addressed in some international jurisdictions
through government incentives. Nevertheless,
as battery costs continue to fall, so too will
the upfront cost of BEVs. It is expected that
in the early-to-mid 2020s BEVs will have
reached price parity with ICEVs (IEA, 2018),
and, importantly, be cheaper to own on a
total cost basis. Based on the current figures,
the payback period for a BEV is expected to
range from 6-8 years.
The FCV model shown in Table 2 has a
much higher upfront cost and operating cost
compared to all other drivetrain technologies.
As will be discussed further in the section
following on State of the Market, the FCV
market is still relatively immature, with a
production rate similar to EVs in the late
2000s. Needless to say, we would expect
that as manufacturing volumes increase,
economies-of-scale will lead to reductions
in the upfront cost; likely to a level similar to
that of PHEVs, but not as low as BEVs, given
FCVs have more components: hydrogen
tanks, fuel cell stack, on-board battery and an
electric motor.
However, the greater challenge for FCVs
is believed to be in their high operating costs,
given the high energy and water intensity
requirements of producing hydrogen from
water using electrolysis, as was discussed
before. As such, whilst the cost of hydrogen
may reduce further than the CSIRO’s current
expected cost of $15 per kg (Hamilton-Smith,
2018), FCV operating costs are expected to
remain around 4 times as expensive as BEVs.
kilometres travelled[7]. The broader impacts of
water emissions from FCVs (as both a liquid
and a vapour) are still under investigation.
Nevertheless, careful assessment of the
urban air quality impacts of complete fleet
electrification is required. For instance, Yu
and Stuart (2017), simulated the impacts for
2050 in Florida (US) and found a 65-85%
reduction in population weighted exposure
to selected carcinogenic compounds, but
a 60% increase for NOx. The latter was
due to increased electricity demands, i.e.
increased operation of local (coal-fired) power
stations. However, assuming the same fuel
mix and no improvement in power station
emission control over the next 30+ years
appears unrealistic. Nevertheless the results
suggest that a fleet of 100% EVs does not
guarantee deep reductions in emissions and
population exposure for all air pollutants, and
that local air quality impacts will depend on
how (fuel mix) and where (e.g. distance of
power stations to urban areas) electricity is
generated.
Costs
The technical structure of a BEV is simpler
compared to an ICEV since there is no
starting, exhaust or lubrication system,
and generally no gearbox. This means that
maintenance, repair and service costs are
substantially reduced in comparison with
conventional ICEVs, or PHEVs, which contain
dual powertrains. In addition, ‘fuel costs’
are significantly lower. Based on an average
electricity price of $0.20 per kWh (after
discounts) and BEV energy consumption 0.19
kWh per km[8], this translates to an average
cost of about $3.80 per 100 km for BEVs.
In comparison, at an average petrol price
of $1.60 per litre and an average new ICEV
fuel consumption of 11.1 L per 100 km, this
translates to a cost of $17.76 per 100 km.
Therefore, the energy cost of new BEVs is
about 20% of new ICEVs, on average.
The battery is the largest cost of a BEV,
and has arguably been the largest cost
barrier to mass-market EV deployment.
The real-world driving range of BEVs varies
substantially, and is closely related to the size
of the battery and therefore purchase price.
For instance, a Nissan LEAF with a 24 kWh
battery is expected to achieve a range of
about a 100 km, whereas the Tesla Model S
with a 100 kWh battery has a much larger
range of more than 500 km (IEA, 2018).
Given that average daily trip distance is
generally close to or below 10 km (e.g. Smit
and Ntziachristos, 2013), the issue of driving
range may be more of a perceived issue
(‘range anxiety’) than an actual issue for most
people living in urban areas.
With a price tag of about 1000 USD per
kWh in 2008, battery costs have continued
to come down quickly through economies-
of-scale. Battery costs currently stand at
approximately 200 USD per kWh, and the
point of price parity with ICEVs, without
incentives, is expected to be achieved at 100
USD per kWh, which should be reached in
the early-to-mid 2020s (McKinsey, 2017).
Nevertheless, at this stage the up-front
purchase costs for non-luxury BEVs and
PHEVs are significantly higher than their
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
22 Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018
In the case of both the BEV and PHEV
models shown in Table 2, the associated
operating costs could also be further reduced
through off-peak, solar and free public
charging, due to the flexibility of being able
to charge EVs at different sites. This compares
to the relatively rigid model for ICEV, ICEV-
Hybrid and FCV vehicles, where service
stations control supply, and there is very little
price variation from site to site.
It should be noted that the figures
included in Table 2 are based on averages,
and EPA drive cycle test figures for the US
market, which may deviate, to some extent,
in real-world conditions. Despite this, the
expectation is that the relative differences in
costs between vehicle drivetrain technologies
will remain similar.
Finally, another issue that is not captured
in the figures above is the relative uncertainty
in resale values for BEVs, PHEVs and FCVs.
This uncertainty has contributed to higher
depreciation rates for these vehicles, which
further increases the upfront cost and/or
leasing rates. No doubt, in the near future,
the opposite will be true, and in fact a
higher depreciation rate will switch to being
associated with ICEVs as the transition
In the case of Australia, if the existing fleet
of 14 million passenger and light commercial
vehicles (ABS, 2018) was converted to
100% BEVs, continued travelling an average
of approximately 14,000 kilometres per
year (ABS, 2017), and using the previously
estimated mean real-world electricity
consumption of 0.19 kWh/km, this would
result in a gross electricity requirement of 37
TWh per annum i.e. 15% of Australia’s annual
electricity generation (250 TWh/annum;
Department of the Environment and Energy,
2017). Similarly, if New Zealand’s existing
fleet of almost 4 million passenger and light
commercial vehicles was converted to 100%
BEVs, and continued travelling an average
of 10,000 kilometres per year (Ministry of
Transport, 2018), this would result in a gross
electricity requirement of 8 TWh per annum
i.e. 18% of New Zealand’s annual electricity
generation (43 TWh/annum; Ministry of
Business, Innovation and Employment, 2018).
These figures are in line with similar modelling
carried out for the US, which estimated that
a 100% conversion of the US car fleet to
BEVs would require a 20% increase in annual
electricity generation (Arar, 2010).
In comparison to BEVs, the electricity
accelerates, and ICEVs become more difficult
to sell. However, at least until second-hand
markets are established for BEVs, PHEVs and
FCVs, higher depreciation rates will remain a
considerable barrier to mainstream adoption.
Grid Impacts
A transition away from fossil fuels to
electricity for transport presents a number
of potential challenges and opportunities –
whether it be through the direct charging
of electric vehicles (BEVs/PHEVs) or using
electricity to split water into hydrogen for fuel
cell vehicles (FCVs).
Some studies have suggested that existing
electricity generation would be insufficient to
facilitate a complete shift to EVs (e.g. Wong
et al., 2017), whereas others point out that
the availability of electricity is a non-issue as
long as vehicles are mainly charged at night
when excess generating capacity is available
(e.g. Wu et al., 2015b).
Assuming vehicle utilisation rates
remain constant, the aggregate electricity
requirements of EVs are expected to be
relatively minor compared to other alternative
technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cell
vehicles.
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
ICEV ICEV-Hybrid FCV PHEV BEV
Make/Model Toyota Corolla
Sedan Toyota Prius Toyota Mirai Hyundai Ioniq
Plug-in
Hyundai Ioniq
Electric
Length 4,651 mm 4,539 mm 4,890 mm 4,470 mm 4,470 mm
Width 1,775 mm 1,760 mm 1,815 mm 1,821 mm 1,821 mm
Wheelbase 2,700 mm 2,700 mm 2,780 mm 2,700 mm 2,700 mm
Kerb Weight 1,309 kg 1,395 kg 1,848 kg 1,505 kg 1,435 kg
Passenger Volume (m3) 2.7 2.6 2.4 2.7 2.7
Cargo Volume (m3) 0.4 0.7 0.4 0.7 0.7
Energy Source Petrol Petrol Hydrogen Petrol/Electricity Electricity
Rated Equivalent Fuel
Consumption according to
US EPA Test Cycle
7.4 L/100 km 4.5 L/100 km 3.6 L/100 km
(1 kg H2 per 100km)
2.0 L/100 km
(17.4 kWh/100 km;
4.5 L/100 km when
battery depleted)
1.7 L/100 km
(15.5 kWh/100
km)
Fuel / Energy Cost (based on
Australia/ New Zealand)
$1.60 per L
(petrol) = $11.80
per 100 km
$1.60 per L
(petrol) = $7.20
per 100 km
$15 per kg (H2) =
$15 per 100 km
Electricity only: $0.20
per kWh = $3.5 per
100km
60% Electricity/ 40%
Petrol = $5.0 per 100
km
$0.20 per kWh
= $3.10 per 100
km
Estimated annual scheduled
maintenance cost $250 $250
$150*
(most FCVs are
leased with
maintenance
included; have
estimated cost
similar to BEV)
$250 $150
Total operating cost over
5 years @ 15,000 km
p.a. (excluding tyres,
unscheduled maintenance)
$10,130 $6,875 $12,000 $5,000 $3,075
Upfront cost (based on US
pricing in $AUD)
$28,000
(Baseline for
comparison)
$32,000
(14% higher
than ICEV)
$80,000
(186% higher than
ICEV)
$34,000
(21% higher than
ICEV)
$40,000
(43% higher than
ICEV)
Total Cost over 5 years
(upfront + operating;
excluding depreciation/
resale value)
$38,130
(Baseline for
comparison)
$38,875
(2% higher than
ICEV)
$92,000
(141% higher than
ICEV)
$39,000
(2% higher than ICEV)
$43,075
(13% higher than
ICEV)
Sources: Data compiled from Toyota Motor Sales USA and Hyundai Motor America, combined with local electricity and fuel prices.
Table 2 – Example comparison of BEV, PHEV, FCV, ICEV-Hybrid and ICEV models
Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018 23
requirements of FCVs are far greater due to
the energy intensity of producing hydrogen
from water using electrolysis. On the basis of
FCVs using 80 kWh of electricity per 100 km
travelled, (see previous section on Costs) if
the existing passenger and light commercial
fleet in Australia was converted to 100%
FCVs this would result in a gross electricity
requirement of 157 TWh per annum i.e. 63%
of Australia’s annual electricity generation.
Similarly, in New Zealand, a 100% FCV
passenger and light commercial fleet would
result in a gross electricity requirement of 32
TWh per annum i.e. 74% of New Zealand’s
annual electricity generation.
Whilst both Australia and New Zealand,
individually already produce enough
renewable energy annually to power
passenger and light vehicle fleets of 100%
BEVs, a significant shift to hydrogen FCVs
would require a substantial increase in
electricity generation capacity in both
countries.
In regards to specific grid demand issues,
‘spiking’ due to millions of EVs charging at
higher rates at the same time, or significant
volumes of hydrogen being produced
simultaneously, can both largely be managed
through time-of-use and demand electricity
tariffs, that encourage electricity usage
outside of peak demand periods. No doubt,
without such control measures, EVs, and to a
lesser extent FCVs, have the potential to have
similar negative consequences as other major
electrical appliances have had on grids in the
past e.g. air-conditioners.
On the other hand, smart charging
regimes, specifically for EVs, have the potential
to deliver a range of significant benefits for
the wider electricity grid. EVs are essentially
mobile batteries, storing around 1-7 days of
a household’s normal electricity usage. Yet,
the reality is that despite owners wanting
the ability to drive 500 kilometres in a single
charge, the average car in Australia and New
Zealand is only driven 30 to 40 km per day
(ABS, 2017; Ministry of Transport, 2018). This
means that most EVs would have significant
surplus battery capacity on an average day
that could be used for other purposes.
In the first instance, EVs could be used
to improve climate resilience by providing
electricity to power homes, buildings, and
emergency services during disasters and grid
blackouts. Secondly, however, this surplus
battery capacity could be used to capture grid
renewables during peak renewable periods,
and export this energy back to the grid during
peak demand periods, effectively acting
similar to stationary storage, but at a far
lower cost compared to investing in dedicated
battery storage.
What is clear is that based on the
current uptake in renewables, particularly
solar photovoltaics (PV), the load profiles
of electricity grids around the world are
dramatically changing already, not accounting
the future uptake of EVs and FCVs. An
increase in solar is expected to meet a
significant proportion of electricity grid
demand during daytime hours. As night
time approaches a significant ramping of
other generation assets is required in order
to reach evening peak demand. Again, EVs
over the last few years. In 2017, more than
1 million EVs were sold around the world,
with the global EV fleet reaching more than
3 million vehicles (IEA, 2018). In Norway,
arguably the leading EV market globally, just
under 40% of new vehicle sales in 2017 were
EVs. The largest EV market, China, has also
seen a rapid increase in EV sales in recent
years, from a mere 0.4% in 2014 to 2.2% in
2017 (IEA, 2018; EV-Volumes, 2018). Whilst
this proportion is still relatively low, given
the size of the Chinese vehicle market, this
equates to approximately 579,000 EV sales
in 2017, more than any other country in the
world (IEA, 2018).
It is clear from these sales figures that EVs
are an emerging vehicle technology in many
markets around the world. To put this into
perspective, Figure 2, shows the trajectory
of global sales for BEVs, PHEVs, and FCVs
between 2012 and 2017. As shown, the
zero emission vehicle market is dominated
by BEVs, shortly followed by PHEVs. In
comparison, FCVs are a minor component
and hardly visible in Figure 2, with a sales rate
similar to that of EVs more than 10 years ago.
To explore this aspect further, Figure 3
shows sales data for markets that have shown
the most interest in FCV technology: Japan
and South Korea. FCV sales again have been
a minor component in comparison particularly
to BEVs, but also PHEVs in the case of Japan.
Whilst the uptake of EVs globally has
increased significantly in recent years, EVs are
still not a major component of vehicles sales
in either Australia or New Zealand at present.
As of mid-2018, there were approximately
9,000 EVs in Australia (EV-volumes, 2018),
out of a total fleet of 14 million passenger
vehicles i.e. 0.06% (Australian Bureau of
Statistics, 2017) and approximately 9,000
EVs in New Zealand out of a total fleet of
almost 4 million passenger vehicles i.e. 0.23%
(New Zealand Ministry of Transport, 2018).
Despite a low proportion of sales being
electric in both of these countries, the rate of
EV sales in both Australia and New Zealand
has increased significantly in recent years, as
shown in Figure 4.
It should also be noted that New Zealand
consumers face minimal barriers in purchasing
have the ability to absorb a proportion of
solar-generated electricity during the day, and
export this to the grid during the evening,
in order to not only support the uptake of
renewables, but reduce the ramping strains
that intermittent renewables are introducing
into grids without significant storage
capabilities e.g. pumped hydro, stationary
storage, etc. It should be noted that hydrogen
has also been touted as a potential storage
medium for this purpose, however, with its
far lower efficiency, this only makes economic
sense after all battery storage has been
saturated, given the much higher efficiencies
of these devices.
A recent California study modelled the
potential of using electric vehicle-to-grid
(V2G) technologies to support the uptake of
renewables, whilst minimising the ramping
strains caused by renewable intermittency,
in order to reach the state’s target of 50%
renewable energy by 2030 (Coignard, 2018).
By modelling the state’s EV target of 1.5
million vehicles by 2025 (1 million PHEVs, 0.5
million BEVs), and assuming V2G services were
available at 60% of EV homes, and 30% of
EV workplaces, it was found that this EV fleet
could provide services to the grid equivalent
to $US12.8 - $US15.4 billion of stationary
storage, meeting the State’s 50% target, but
at a fraction of the cost (Coignard, 2018).
Whilst further research into the precise
costs of V2G services is still underway,
this alternative potential benefit of EVs is
significant and should be taken into account
when considering the relative merits of this
technology compared to alternative options.
STATE OF THE MARKET
Given the previously outlined business case
for EVs, it is important to examine the current
state of the market to understand where
Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the
world is tracking in regards to the uptake
of this innovative and beneficial transport
technology.
Market Penetration
Market penetration of EVs over the past
decade was initially slow, but has increased
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
Figure 2 - Sales of BEVs, PHEVs and FCVs globally between 2012 and 2017 (data taken from
EV-Volumes, 2018).
24 Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018
Figure 2 - Sales of BEVs, PHEVs and FCVs globally between 2012 and 2017 (data taken from EV-Volumes,
2018).
EVs privately imported from other right-hand
drive markets, such as the United Kingdom
and Japan. The uptake of these grey imports
has also increased significantly in recent years.
In contrast, there are considerable restrictions
on grey imports in Australia, and as such, it
has not been a viable pathway for Australian
consumers to acquire an EV.
Australia’s relatively sluggish track record
in EV uptake is, in large part, due to a general
lack of federal government incentives for
EVs, the absence of supportive policies
for increasing fuel efficiency, and limited
government support for reducing vehicle
emissions. EV manufacturers have therefore
not concentrated on the Australian market,
providing consumers with a limited EV model
choice and higher prices. An exception to this
dearth of local policy has been the Queensland
Government, which released its EV Strategy
(“The Future is Electric”), in October 2017,
with a particular focus of supporting the
rollout of charging infrastructure (Department
of Transport, 2018).
Until recently, the policy situation in New
Zealand was relatively similar to Australia.
However, in May 2016, the national
government announced its Electric Vehicle
Charging Infrastructure
The main advantage of an ICEV or FCV
compared to a BEV, is an the relatively quick
refilling of the tank. However, it is noted that
for FCVs the necessary hydrogen filling station
infrastructure is not yet available around the
world, so hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles
would have to return daily to the same filling
station (Helmers and Marx, 2012).
In tandem with an increase in EV sales
globally, over recent years there has also
been a rapid increase in the rollout of EV
charging infrastructure, both in the form
of slow charging (SCh) and fast charging
(FCh) infrastructure. Here we define SCh
as charging infrastructure that delivers AC
current to an EV for its on-board charger
to convert into to DC current to charge the
battery. SCh infrastructure charging rates
vary from 2-43 kW, with the rate limited by
an EV’s on-board charging capabilities. SCh
infrastructure can charge an average BEV
battery in 2-12 hours, depending on the rate
of charge and size of battery. FCh is defined
here as charging infrastructure that delivers
DC current directly to an EV’s on-board
battery, with a varying charging rate of 25-
500 kW. Existing BEVs can fully charge using
this infrastructure in 20-40 minutes, and in
the near future will be able to take advantage
of higher charging rates to reduce charging
time down to less than 10 minutes.
SCh is the dominant form of charging
infrastructure around the world. This
corresponds with the majority of EV charging
being carried out at home overnight or during
the day at workplaces. FCh infrastructure
has increased substantially over the past two
years, in part due to a range of collaborations
between vehicle manufacturers, as well
as Tesla rolling out its own dedicated
supercharger network. As of 2018, there
were over 270,000 publicly-available EV
chargers globally, of which over 85,000 were
FCh units (IEA, 2018; EV-Volumes, 2018).
In Australia there were approximately 100
FCh units and over 750 SCh units as of April,
2018 (EV-Volumes, 2018).
The optimum mix of SCh/FCh
infrastructure, and the optimum EV-to-
charger ratios, are a matter of debate, but
largely depends on local travel needs and
preferences. The EU has suggested a 2020
target of one publicly accessible charging
points for every 10 EVs on the road. Looking
at the status of charging infrastructure
around the globe, coverage rates vary
significantly across EV markets. For instance,
Japan has the highest EV/FCh ratio of about
33 i.e. 1 public FCh unit for every 33 EVs, as
compared to 100 in the Netherlands, 400
in the US, 80 in Australia, and 36 in New
Zealand (IEA, 2018; EV-Volumes, 2018). In
comparison, the Netherlands has the highest
EV/SCh ratio of about 2, i.e. 1 pubic SCh unit
for every 2 EVs, as compared with 5 in the
US, 10 in Japan, 12 in Australia, and 16 in
New Zealand (IEA, 2018; EV-Volumes, 2018).
Looking forward, as the number of EVs
increase in the global vehicle fleet, there will
be an increasing need for publicly accessible
SCh and FCh infrastructure to keep place
with these developments.
Programme, which included:
- a goal of reaching 64,000 EVs in New
Zealand by the end of 2021,
- exemption from road user charges for
light electric vehicle until the end of 2021,
- bulk government and commercial
purchases of EVs,
- rollout of public charging infrastructure,
- a contestable fund to support innovative
low emission vehicle projects, and
- establishment of an EV leadership group
to pro-actively promote initiatives and
share information across government and
industry.
In line with the introduction of this
programme, there has been a significant
increase in the local uptake of EVs in New
Zealand, with a tripling of EV registrations
between the 2015/16 financial year (prior to
policy introduction) and 2016/17 financial
year (post policy introduction). The number
of new EV registrations in New Zealand has
doubled again between FY 16/17 and FY
17/18 (New Zealand Ministry of Transport,
2018).
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
Figure 3 - Sales of BEVs, PHEVs and FCVs in Japan and South Korea 2008-2017 (data taken
from EV-Volumes, 2018).
Figure 4 - Sales of BEVs, PHEVs and FCVs in Australia and New Zealand 2012-2017 (Australian
data taken from EV-Volumes, 2018; New Zealand data taken from New Zealand Ministry of
Transport, 2018).
Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018 25
FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS
The following section of this paper details EV
targets and bans, future market projections,
autonomous vehicles, and finally a brief
section on community awareness and
perceptions.
Future Projections
Looking forward there are various projections
in regards to the uptake of electric vehicles.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance is predicting
that about a quarter of all new vehicle sales
with be EVs by 2030, and this will increase
to over 50% by 2040 (BNEF, 2017). These
figures translate to 10% of the global vehicle
fleet being electric by 2030, increasing to a
third by 2040 (BNEF, 2017). The International
Energy Agency also expects a global fleet of
Clearly, as battery costs continue to
fall and consumers become more familiar
with EV technology, as well as aware of the
environmental and economic benefits, the
rate of EVs is expected to rapidly increase
over the coming 5-10 years. In order to assist
in facilitating this transition, governments
around the world are setting targets and
bans, as described further below, sending
a clear signal to both the market and
consumers.
Future Targets and Bans
In acknowledgment of the need to provide
confidence to the market, a number of
countries have publicly committed to EV
targets. Whilst many countries have targets
applying to a number of vehicle types/
categories, Table 3 shows the specific targets
relating to electric passenger vehicles. China
in particular has an aggressive target of
5 million EVs in its vehicle fleet by 2020
(approx. 2% of the fleet), and 40-50%
of new vehicles sales being ‘new-energy
vehicles’ i.e. electric or fuel cell vehicles, by
2030. Some countries such as the Norway,
the Netherlands and Ireland have even
higher ambitions, targeting 100% EV sales
by 2025-2030. As mentioned previously,
New Zealand has set a target of 64,000 EVs
by 2021, however, at present, no Australian
government has set a state or national EV
target (outside of government fleets).
As shown in Table 3, in addition to EV
targets, a number of countries have also
announced bans on ICEV sales and/or ICEVs
13 million EVs by 2020 (increasing from 3.7
million in 2017) and up to almost 130 million
EVs by 2030. These projects correspond to a
24% average, year-on-year sales growth over
the projected period (IEA, 2018).
Turning specifically to the Australian
market, a recent study commissioned by
the Australian Renewable Energy Agency
(ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance
Corporation (CEFC) outlined that up to 60%
of new local vehicle sales could be EVs by
2030, and that this would increase to up to
100% of sales by 2040. These projections
translated to up to 25% of the national
fleet being EVs by 2030, and up to 60% by
2040 (Energeia, 2018). Similarly, the New
Zealand Government expects EVs to make up
approximately 40% of the local fleet by 2040
(Ministry of Transport, 2017).
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
Country Targets ICEV Bans Major ICEV Access Restrictions
Canada N/A N/A Vancouver: 2030
China 5 million EVs by 2020; 40-50% NEV sales by 2030 Under consideration N/A
EU 15% EV sales by 2025, 30% by 2030 N/A
Athens: Diesel by 2025
Copenhagen: 2030
Rome: 2030
France N/A 2040 Paris: Diesel by 2024. All ICE by 2030
Finland 250,000 EVs by 2030 N/A N/A
India 30% EV sales by 2030 N/A N/A
Ireland 500,000 EVs / 100% EV sales by 2030 2030 N/A
Japan 20-30% EV sales by 2030 N/A N/A
Netherlands 10% EV sales by 2020, 100% by 2030 2030 N/A
New
Zealand 64,000 EVs by 2021 N/A Auckland: 2030
Norway 100% EV sales by 2025 2025 N/A
South Korea 200,000 EVs by 2020 N/A N/A
Slovenia 100% EV sales by 2030 2030 N/A
Sri Lanka N/A 2040 (entire fleet
without ICE vehicles) N/A
Sweden N/A 2045 (entire fleet
without ICE vehicles) Stockholm: 2030
Scotland N/A 2032 N/A
UK 396,000 to 431,000 EVs by 2020 2040 London, Oxford: 2030
USA
3.3 million EVs in eight states combined by 2025
California: 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles and 15% of
sales by 2025, 5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2030.
N/A Los Angeles, Seattle: 2030
Table 3 - Global EV targets, ICEV bans and major ICEV access restrictions (adapted from IEA, 2018).
26 Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018
in their local fleets. Whilst Norway has the
most ambitious aim of banning ICE sales by
2025, the majority of other bans – including
those of major economies such as France and
the UK – are set to come in place relatively
soon, between 2030 and 2040. No Australian
or New Zealand government has publicly
announced plans to introduce a similar ban.
Finally, a number of local jurisdictions
have also committed to introducing major
access restrictions for diesel and other ICEVs
in the near future. This move is principally
in response to the air quality and health
impacts of ICEVs in urban areas, with
access restrictions providing an important
signal to the market that ICEVs will be no
longer supported in the future (Table 3). No
Australian or New Zealand government has
publicly announced plans to introduce similar
access restrictions.
Autonomous Vehicles
Many researchers believe that the
transport system is currently undergoing a
disruptive transformation towards full use
of connected and autonomous vehicles
(AVs), where the transport system becomes
significantly safer, cheaper, cleaner and
more energy-efficient. AVs may catalyse a
large behavioural shift from the classical
individually-owned vehicle model towards
an ‘on-demand’ shared-mobility service in
a fully autonomous transport system, with
associated infrastructure effects such as
reshaped cities (increasing urban density,
reduction in available parking spaces,
dynamic and adaptive lane availability, etc.).
AVs can even be instrumented with low-cost
air quality sensors, to become real-time air
quality monitoring devices (e.g. Carpentiero
et al., 2017). One could imagine this system
to direct AV driving routes to minimise
greenhouse gas emissions as well as local
exposure to air pollutants.
From a technical perspective, AVs
have a large potential to reduce energy
use, and provide the needed deep cuts in
GHG and air pollutant emissions. Reported
reductions in energy use and GHG emissions
by switching to AVs range from 40-90%,
without sacrificing personal mobility (e.g.
Simon et al., 2015; Igliński and Babiak,
2017). This includes light-weighting vehicles
(enabled by AVs being significantly safer),
and the use of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and
vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connectivity for
communication and information exchange.
The latter can be used to optimise system-
wide on-road AV operation with vehicles
following each other closely, leading to
reduced congestion and ‘platooning’ (Barth et
al., 2013).
On the other hand, there are various
mechanisms that could lead to increased
total travel, expressed as vehicle kilometres
travelled (VKT), and therefore emissions.
For instance, additional VKT may be added
by unoccupied AVs moving around without
passengers. Reduced congestion levels
may cause more (induced) travel. Similarly,
a different valuation of travel time could
increase the acceptable commuting radius
and therefore VKT (Miller and Heard, 2016).
These adverse effects can at least to some
towards, a zero-GHG emission transport
system.
EVs and fuel cell vehicles are both
expected to significantly improve local air
quality, particularly in urban areas where
population and associated transport needs
are concentrated. However, the extent to
which electricity generation uses renewable
energy is again an important factor in relation
to level of improvement that will be achieved.
The economic case for EVs is strong. At
society level it will substantially reduce the
significant (hidden) economic costs of air
pollution and associated public health impacts
caused by fossil-fuelled vehicles. For EV
users, up-front purchase costs are currently
significantly higher as compared with
conventional vehicles, but they are falling.
In contrast, operating costs (maintenance,
repair, fuel/energy) are 20% or less of these
costs for fossil-fuelled vehicles. ‘Total cost’
parity (purchase plus operating) is expected to
occur in the early to mid-2020s.
Whilst both Australia and New Zealand
already produce enough renewable energy
annually to power passenger and light vehicle
fleets of 100% EVs, a significant shift to
fuel cell vehicles would require a substantial
increase in electricity generation capacity in
both countries. EVs can play a positive role as
relatively cheap energy storage devices that
would help a transition to a more renewable
energy system.
Whereas several regions/countries in the
world have set specific EV targets, and in
some cases even future bans for fossil-fuelled
vehicles, Australia has a relatively sluggish
track record in EV promotion and uptake.
This is largely due to a general lack of federal
government incentives for EVs, the absence
of supportive policies for increasing fuel
efficiency, and limited government support
for reducing vehicle emissions. Local initiatives
such as Queensland’s EV strategy may
herald a change for Australia. New Zealand
has now taken a significantly more active
stance regarding EVs with its Electric Vehicle
Program, which is already reflected in an
accelerated uptake of EVs.
Many researchers believe that the
transport system is currently undergoing a
disruptive transformation towards full use
of connected and autonomous vehicles
(AVs), where the transport system becomes
significantly safer, cheaper, cleaner and
more energy-efficient. Electric vehicles are
the ‘natural partner’ of AVs as the high level
of electrification of AV systems naturally
extends to the powertrain, and shared
mobility and automated recharging can make
BEVs attractive. As such the transformation
towards an AV transport system may mutually
re-inforce the use of BEVs.
So where are we heading with electric
vehicles? Although there are significant
differences between countries and regions in
the world, the available data suggest we are
definitely heading away from fossil-fuelled
road transport towards a fully transformed
road transport system where electric vehicles
will dominate, or at least play a key role.
Electric vehicles are the obvious choice when
considering environmental and economic
benefits and other fundamental shifts such as
extent be managed with additional policies
such as road pricing.
BEVs are the ‘natural partner’ of AVs as
the high level of electrification of AV systems
naturally extends to the powertrain, and
shared mobility and automated recharging
can make BEVs attractive (Simon et al., 2015).
As such the transformation towards an AV
transport system may mutually re-inforce the
use of BEVs.
Awareness/Perception
Perceptions regarding the safety and
reliability of EVs remain an issue throughout
the market. Fire-related incidents in China
(ChinaAutoWeb, 2011) and the United States
(Green et al., 2011) in 2011, for instance,
attracted high-profile media attention.
While extensive testing and evaluation have
demonstrated that EVs do not pose a greater
risk of fire than petrol-powered vehicles,
these incidents have brought extra scrutiny of
EV safety. By comparison, there is usually little
media reporting on the more than 250,000
ICE vehicle fires per year recorded in the
United States (Ahrens, 2010). Other reports
of battery failures, recalls, and climate-related
battery degradation have further raised
doubts about EV technology. Thus, the bar
appears to be set quite high in the public
mind in terms of EV safety and reliability, and
remains an issue that needs to be addressed.
CONCLUSIONS
This paper compares conventional fossil-
fuelled vehicle technologies with electric and
fuel cell technology vehicles. It is found that
electric vehicles (EVs) are the only vehicle
type that represents a technology jump of
significance in terms of energy improvement
in mobility. They provide an immediate and
substantial reduction in energy use by road
transport, i.e. EVs use approximately a factor
of 3-5 times less energy, as compared with
the conventional vehicles. Fuel cell vehicles
only perform slightly better than conventional
vehicles.
When compared with conventional
vehicles, EVs are computed to achieve
significant greenhouse gas emission
reductions in Australia, varying from about
40% (current situation) to very deep cuts
of 98%, depending on what extent the
Australian electricity generation uses
renewable energy. In contrast, fuel cell
vehicles are expected to produce a large
increase in greenhouse gas emission of
about 80% (current situation), but have the
potential to substantially reduce greenhouse
gas emissions provided that Australia
significantly increases its use of renewable
energy. In fact, significant reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions with fuel cell
vehicles appear only possible if Australia
makes a fundamental shift towards almost
an almost 100% renewable energy system,
which is unlikely in the near to medium
future. EVs are therefore considered the
safer and more robust option with regard
to moving to a zero emission road transport
system. Only EVs, and to a significantly lesser
extent fuel cell vehicles, are shown to have
the potential to create, or relevantly move
WHERE ARE WE HEADING WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
Air Quality and Climate Change Volume 52 No.3. September 2018 27
autonomous vehicles and renewable energy
are mutually reinforcing developments.
Co-development with a clean and climate-
friendly electricity generation system will
enable deep cuts in greenhouse and air
pollution emissions.
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1 With reported values typically varying between 10-
20% (see Helmers and Marx, 2012; Wong, 2017), a
value of 20% is probably too conservative. BEV energy
efficiency has been shown to be improving in line with
improvements in battery performance, e.g. a 10%
improvement for the same BEV for model years 2012
to 2015 (Wong et al., 2017).
2 100% efficiency is unlikely to be achieved due to
losses.
3 Carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2-e quantifies the
amount of CO2 emissions, which would have the
equivalent global warming impact as a given mixture
of greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. carbon dioxide,
methane, perfluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide) over a
specified timescale (generally, 100 years).
4 Petrol 82%, Diesel 10%, LPG 8%.
5 Conversion of the 0.26 kWh/km WTT to CO2-e
emissions is inherently complex and requires a
thorough understanding of the energy use and
processes required to produce a litre of fossil fuel
for on-road consumption in the country or region of
interest. In the computation it has been assumed that
the CO2-e emission rate per kWh of fossil fuel energy is
approximately the same for WTT and TTW.
6 Assumptions are 15% coal, 24% natural gas, 1% oil,
10% hydro, 10% wind, 4% biomass and 36% solar.
7 Production of hydrogen using electrolysis: 2 H2O(l)
2 H2(g) + O2(g); 1 mol H2O produces 1 mol H2; 18
grams H2O produces 2 grams H2, so 9 kg H2O (i.e.
9 litres) produces 1 kg H2. 1 kg H2 propels an FCV
approximately 100km, therefore FCVs displace 9 litres
of water per 100 km.
8 This figure should be considered as conservative,
given many battery electric vehicles have lower energy
consumption rates.
AUTHORS
Dr Robin Smit
1 School of Civil Engineering, The University
of Queensland
2 Faculty of Engineering and Information
Technology, University of Technology Sydney
Email: mr.robin.smit@gmail.com
Dr Jake Whitehead
School of Civil Engineering, The University of
Queensland
Professor Simon Washington
School of Civil Engineering, The University
of Queensland
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This study developed a national motor vehicle emission inventory using the Computer Programme to calculate Emissions from Road Transport (COPERT) Australia software. A whole-of-Australia study ensures consistency in input data preparation and emission estimation methods. To account for differences in vehicle fleet mix, climate and fuel quality Motor Vehicle Emissions Inventory (MVEIs) were developed for each state/territory individually, and then aggregated to estimate total national emissions. COPERT Australia generates comprehensive vehicle emissions data. For example it estimates emissions for 226 vehicle classes, 116 pollutants and different types of emissions (hot running, cold start, evaporative, non-exhaust). A major part of the work focussed on generating the detailed input data that are required for the emission simulations. The COPERT input data was calibrated through an iterative process to ensure that predicted fuel consumption by fuel type is equivalent to reported fuel use by credible independent sources. This calibration step is essential to the development of a robust National Motor Vehicle Emission Inventory (NMVEI). The NMVEI shows that the relative contributions of industry and motor vehicle emissions are highly variable, and are dependent on the pollutant. Motor vehicles emissions in relation to industry emissions vary from dominant (acrolein, benzene, etc.) to important (VOCs, NOx, PM2.5, etc.) to insignificant (SO2, selenium, etc.). Annual emissions from motor vehicles, as reported in this study and by the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI), do not necessarily reflect community exposure to the air pollutants. The actual contribution of motor vehicle emissions to population exposure (and thus health effects) is likely to be substantially greater than equivalent emission levels from industrial sources. This is because motor vehicle emissions are released close to ground level and, typically, in close proximity to where people live and work. In contrast, industrial emissions are typically emitted through vents and stacks, and are generally located some distance from populated areas. This means that industrial emissions are often dispersed significantly before they reach the population. As a consequence, relatively minor levels of motor vehicle emissions can lead to significant exposure to pollutants and associated health impacts.
Article
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Continuous and dynamic growth in demand for road transport, especially in developing countries, causes increase of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. At the same time the emissions of toxic components of exhaust gases harmful to human health and the environment enhance – particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and others. In particular, GHG emission and increase their concentration in the atmosphere, where road transport is the largest issuer in the transport sector, become one of the most important global problems. So far actions towards reducing energy consumption and emissions have not caused a decrease in global emissions. One of the key reasons for this is the presence of Jevons paradox, where the combined demand for transport grew faster than underwent the efficiency improvement of energy consumption and emissions reduction. One of the main reason for this is that vehicles offered on the market (especially cars) are characterized by an increase in weight and engine power.
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In the transport sector, electric vehicles (EVs) are widely accepted as the next technology paradigm, capable of solving the environmental problems associated with internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). However, EVs also have environmental impacts that are directly related to the country’s electricity generation mix. In countries without an environmentally friendly electricity generation mix, EVs may not be effective in lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this study, we analyzed the extent to which the GHG emissions associated with EVs differs among 70 countries in the world, in relation to their domestic electricity generation mix. Then, we compared the results with the GHG emissions from the ICEVs. Countries with a high percentage of fossil fuels in their electricity generation mix showed high GHG emissions for EVs, and for some of these countries, EVs were associated with more GHG emissions than ICEVs. For these countries, policies based on the positive environmental impact of EVs may have to be reconsidered. In addition, different policies may need to be considered for different vehicle types (compact car, SUV, etc.), because the ability of EVs to reduce GHG emissions compared to that of ICEVs varies by vehicle type.
Article
Background Acute bronchitis (AB) is one of the principal causes of childhood morbidity. Increasing number of studies has shown that air pollution is an important environmental contributor of respiratory disease. However, evidence so far is scarce regarding the effects of air pollution on childhood AB, and it also remains unclear how the risk of AB will change by season and age. Methods Data on hospital visits for AB in children, air pollution and meteorological factors from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016 were collected in Hefei, China. Time-series analysis was applied to assess the short-term effects of traffic-related air pollution on childhood AB outpatient visits. A Poisson generalised linear regression model combined with a distributed lag non-linear model was used to estimate the relationships, controlling for long-term trends, seasonal patterns, meteorological factors and other possible confounders. Results We found that an IQR increase in concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter <2.5 µm and carbon monoxide significantly increased the daily hospital visits for childhood AB with 4-day cumulative effect estimates (relative risks: 1.03, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.05; 1.09, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.11; 1.07, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.09). Notably, the risk estimates during the cold season are pronounced; however, no significant association was observed during the warm season. Interestingly, children aged 6–14 years were more vulnerable to air pollutants than children aged less than 1 year and within 1–5 years. However, no gender difference was observed. Conclusion A significant association of traffic-related air pollution and increased department visits for childhood AB was observed, notably in school-age children and during the cold season.
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Electric passenger vehicles are generally recognized to be the best-practicable alternative to gasoline-powered passenger vehicles, in the mitigation of greenhouse emission in the transportation sector of economically-developed countries. Energy stored in rechargeable batteries is the source of power for the operation of electric vehicles. The notable deterrents to the expanded implementation of the electric-vehicle strategy would include the adequacy of incremental and/or new power supply for recharging batteries, and fiscal implications for governments. In the 2012 reference year, the net outcome of re-deploying all power exported from British Columbia (Canada) to the USA for use by domestic electric vehicles would provide a conversion of ∼47% of registered passenger motor vehicles. But this approach would increase the greenhouse gas emission by ∼20 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually, on the basis of increased CO2 emission in the USA account. The export cessation would necessitate US electric utilities to increase their power generating capacity to make up for the shortfall in imports. The switchover to electric vehicles is projected to effect a revenue loss of ∼C$600 million for the Government of British Columbia in the 2012 reference year.